PANTERA — Far Beyond Driven (review)

PANTERA — Far Beyond Driven album cover Album · 1994 · Groove Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Kev Rowland
It is safe to say that when I first came across Pantera with their fifth album, 1990’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’ I was not impressed, and over the last 30 years have recognised there have been some good songs from within their canon, but have never gone as massively overboard as many. So, when I was perusing the Warner Bros promotional site and came across this double CD reissue from 2014, celebrating the 20th anniversary of an album seen by many as being a classic, I thought why not? There is no doubt that Pantera these days are viewed by many as being an incredibly important band within the genre, and Dimebag’s death has only secured that notion, but listening to this with fresh ears more than a quarter of a century after it was recorded, one can only wonder why that is still the case.

The guys were all very good musicians, and in Anselmo they had an aggressive and over the top singer, while Dimebag was obviously influenced heavily by the likes of Tony Iommi, but where are the songs? There is little here which gets into the brain and sticks there, the result being that if this was a new album by an unknown band one wonders what the critics would think of it. Of course, the Pantera diehards will say this is a hugely important release, even more so that it has been remastered and paired with live songs from Donington which include classics such as “Fucking Hostile”. The only problem is that the recording is bootleg quality at best, and one gets the impression it has been deliberately left like that. Having delved back into the world of Pantera for the first time in aeons, I cannot say that I am any wiser as to why they are held in such high regard, as this is not the classic many hold it out to be.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
41 days ago
It sold millions of copies because everybody expected the band to follow the cue of the previous two albums. It debuted at #1 but quickly fell off the charts as many didn't know how to wrap their heads around it. Probably not the best career decision but Pantera were always about moving on when they've had enough and that's exactly what they did.
UMUR wrote:
41 days ago
Yeah that part of the album story is actually pretty crazy. The music is pretty extreme on this album, and how it ended up selling millions of copies is quite the story.
Vim Fuego wrote:
41 days ago
No matter what we think of it, it debuted at no.1 in the charts and has sold millions of copies. :-D
UMUR wrote:
42 days ago
It´s not my favorite Pantera album, but I still enjoy it greatly.
Unitron wrote:
42 days ago
I don't get the lukewarm reception this album gets. The songwriting is great, plus they really experimented with production and different tones. The echoey vocal effects coupled with the atmospheric guitar tone during the chorus on Shedding Skin? So cool.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
42 days ago
I don't agree there's a lack of songs, they're just not traditional. I've loved this adventurous departure from the norm for a long time. Vulgar Display was starting to recycle riffs from Cowboys so i'm personally glad they moved on. It's an acquired taste for sure but it's obviously many didn't want to acquire it :D
Vim Fuego wrote:
42 days ago
Like I have always thought too - there's a distinct lack of songs on this album. I have never bothered to upgrade this album to CD from tape like I have with all the other Pantera albums simply because I would never listen to it.

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